COVID-19 circumstances gradual in Verde Valley

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On April 4, Yavapai County had its first death from COVID-19. As of Tuesday April 13, the county has 70 cases, including 29 in the Verde Valley and 41 in the Prescott area.

Last week the county started to provide more data on the locations of COVID-19 cases in these regions. As of Tuesday April 15, 10 cases were reported in Sedona, 12 in Cottonwood and another seven cases in other parts of the Verde Valley.

Those numbers increased by two from April 8 to April 12 and by five on April 14. In previous reports from Yavapai County, most days were increasing steadily every day. In the week of April 5-12, Yavapai County saw cases jump 41.3% from 46 to 65. In the previous week, which began March 29, the county’s case rose 283.3% from 12 on 46.

The county health authorities cannot point to a final declaration of the plateau – no new cases were reported between April 8 and April 12, two on April 13 and five on April 14 in the Verde Valley, but zero in Prescott.

The first way I thought about the county health authorities was an issue with testing capacity. Many people who have contracted the virus have not yet been able to confirm the diagnosis.

Stephen Everett, director of communicable diseases at YCCHS, has repeatedly stated that he does not believe that the country or the county’s testing capabilities are sufficient to get an accurate picture of the spread of the virus.

The other possibility is that the social distancing measures in place actually stopped the spread of the disease in the area, Everett said. Shutting down before the virus spreads widely, as in other parts of the country, could potentially prevent a major outbreak in Yavapai County.

It has now been a full month since schools and business closings began in the state of Arizona, meaning the virus may have trouble spreading across the area despite its very long incubation period, which allows symptoms for weeks after it was infected. he said.

“When people are sick, they stay home, which is a real key,” said Everett. “If you are sick, don’t go out where you can infect other people. I hope it is. We will know more when we get medical services to deal with the pandemic if it gets bad. We’re definitely not seeing the number of cases like last week. ”

While rural areas like Yavapai County may have an easier time reducing the spread of the disease than some urban areas like New York City or Detroit that have experienced major outbreaks, the county faces the challenge of limited health services. Verde Valley Medical Center announced last week its intention to increase the number of hospital beds to accommodate more patients. That increased number of beds will be 139, of which at least 30 will have to remain in use for non-COVID cases.

Public health officials continue to urge residents to continue to distance themselves socially, even if there are indications that the spread of viruses has decreased.

“I know everyone is starting to get nervous and want to go out or go to the store,” John Mougin, chief quality officer for Northern Arizona Healthcare, told reporters at a news conference last week. “We ask everyone to do their part and stay healthy.”

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